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I now pen this letter after waiting to see if any section of the Islamic community would come out against the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana’s (CIOG) blanket endorsement of President Irfan Ali and the PPP/C as that party celebrates the first year since its return to office.
The Islamic Community, having its first President of Guyana will understandably feel an obligation to support Mr. Ali and the PPPC’s administration but uncritical support cannot be an excuse. The CIOG’s press release had not an iota of criticism of the regime. One expects that the CIOG would have used the occasion to show leadership that is premised on giving relevance to its religious convictions and not be influenced by politics and economics. This was not the case.
The PPPC domination of the Indian community has kept the Islamic and the Hindu sections politically loyal to the party in spite of the many decades of greater Hindu influence on the party. That influence explained why it took so long for the PPPC to be confident enough to promote a member of the Islamic community as the party’s Presidential Candidate.
Many thinkers on race/political relations in Guyana have linked many of the PPPC’s political, economic, and social policies to the philosophical influence of Hinduism. This claim is controversial, as it does not explain the total equation. Is there not an Islamic influence in the mix? This is not to deny that the Hindu religion has shaped the thinking of the PPPC leadership. The same is true of the Christian religion/philosophy on the leadership thinking of the PNCR. With the Hindu and Islamic communities politically united as an Indian community religion made no significant difference. Is it asking too much of our politicians who come to power claiming to be practitioners of a given religion to be held accountable based on the tenets of their religion?
I ponder at the thought of having to conclude that the CIOG and the Islamic community see nothing wrong in the Ali/PPPC administration’s treatment of supporters of the APNU+AFC supporters and by extension the African community. In doing so my mind went back to the old days of the famous Jagan/PPP slogan, probably unheard of by Jagdeo and Ali: “racial and political victimizations”. Taking into account for a moment the numerous dismissals in the public sector, selective treatment of communities in the Covid-19 cash payments, the recent flood hampers and cash payments, and the unlawful takeover of African ancestral lands, the Ali/PPPC administration’s demand that the opposition must recognize the government for it to be treated as the constitutional opposition can only be deemed political apartheid. Is this what the CIOG is supporting?
I am forced to revisit an old polemic with African Muslims who over many decades had sought to convince me that in the Guyanese Muslim community race and politics are not an issue what is important is submission to Allah/God. Excepted that I missed a letter I have not seen any from my African Muslim comrades chiding the CIOG on its 100 percent embrace of the Ali/PPPC administration. A question for them: are there any down sides to this administration?